Twin Swedes Mikael and Tomas Tjarnberg have given lower Manhattan a much-needed alternative to Starbucks. The brothers opened two-level, industrial-chic Kaffe 1668 (the year, they say, that coffee became New York’s favorite breakfast beverage) on Greenwich Street last week with a rotating selection of single-origin beans from Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea in Chicago, 21 organic teas, and two Clover brewing machines purchased only a month before Starbucks acquired the company. Manager Aya Nakamura, who's also Tomas’s girlfriend, explained that the owners’ desire to create a hangout with great coffee developed during travels to London and Australia, and more recently, on a daily pilgrimage for good coffee that took them from their Tribeca apartments up to Café Grumpy in Chelsea. Nakamura also bakes the café's apple-cinnamon, pumpkin-pecan, and blueberry muffins; maple-walnut scones; and some killer, flat, buttery chocolate-chunk cookies daily. Her soft chocolate-oat drops rolled in coconut are straight out of a Swedish kaffe, she says, and she tempts a lunch crowd with prosciutto-mozzarella, smoked salmon–and-avocado, and apple-brie sandwiches ($7.50 to $8). The sparse wood space certainly has a European feel, but you can judge for yourself by clicking on our slideshow below.
Kaffe 1668, 275 Greenwich St., nr. Murray St.; 212-693-3750